Power Lawyers 2019: Hollywood's Top 100 Attorneys

6:15 AM 3/28/2019

by THR Staff

Meet the pit bulls, fixers, wheelers and dealers on Hollywood Reporter's 13th  annual power  list of the top attorneys negotiating record-shattering Netflix pacts, merging Disney and Fox, suppressing sex tapes and suing studios for billions. You got a problem with that?

"It's only been in the past few years that Hollywood has recognized that there are all these voices, particularly women and people of color, who can tell universal stories. I'm most proud of being able to amplify these voices," says Gordon Bobb, who with client Tiffany Haddish was photographed March 14 at Bobb's office in Los Angeles.
"It's only been in the past few years that Hollywood has recognized that there are all these voices, particularly women and people of color, who can tell universal stories. I'm most proud of being able to amplify these voices," says Gordon Bobb, who with client Tiffany Haddish was photographed March 14 at Bobb's office in Los Angeles.
Photographed by Gizelle Hernandez

* = New to the list
† = Returning after absence

  • Tom Ara†

    DLA Piper

    Courtesy of Subject

    LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Ara now co-chairs DLA Piper's burgeoning L.A.-based entertainment practice after joining the firm in the fall. He quickly found himself involved in the biggest deal of the year: representing Disney in part of its $71 billion deal to acquire most of Fox. He also repped Korean giant CJ Entertainment in a joint venture to exploit one of its most popular television formats.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Terranea with my wife and two toddlers."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Disruption. It's already happened, so let's now figure out how to prosper from it.”

  • Karl Austen

    Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Austen is one of the town's top deal dogs for TV renegotiations, scoring big raises for an army of actors on Game of Thrones, two stars (Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride) of The Walking Dead, Justin Hartley for This Is Us, Jeffrey Wright for Westworld and Finn Wolfhard for Stranger Things. The attorney — whose name recently was upped to second position at his longtime firm — also counts Jude Law and Matt Reeves as clients.

    Desert island must-read Anna Karenina by Tolstoy

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “At home, with my wife and kids (probably in bed).”

  • Jill Basinger

    Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro

    Courtesy Photo

    UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Although client Russell Simmons made headlines because of #MeToo disputes, typically Basinger resolves workplace sexual misconduct and harassment cases for high-profile clients without anyone ever hearing about them. In 2018, she also was able to pay out more than $2 billion to charities on behalf of late MGM mogul Kirk Kerkorian after quashing estate disputes.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A food critic."

    My theme song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty

  • Jeff Bernstein*

    Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

    Courtesy of Subject

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Some of Hollywood's fastest-rising stars turn to Bernstein to ink their deals, including longtime client Margot Robbie, who stars in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Jay Roach's Fair and Balanced and is producing and acting in DC's Birds of Prey and Mattel's Barbie. Bernstein also brokered Tessa Thompson's deals for Men in Black: International and Lady and the Tramp.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "A Hydro flask of black coffee."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Barbados, which has always been a second home to me.”

  • Gordon Bobb

    Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano

    Courtesy Photo

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters It's no coincidence that so many of Bobb's clients — Tiffany Haddish, Amandla Stenberg, Pose's Janet Mock and Indya Moore — are women of color. "I did enter this business with the stated purpose to represent those who are underrepresented," he says, crediting partner Nina Shaw, with whom he shares clients Ava DuVernay and Lena Waithe, with recruiting him from corporate law 20 years ago.

    My theme song "Brooklyn's Finest" by Jay-Z

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A youth basketball coach.”

  • Leigh Brecheen*

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Subject

    ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW

    Why she matters Brecheen has found her niche in comedy, repping late-night hosts including Last Week Tonight's John Oliver and Conan O'Brien. This past year, she helped negotiate a major joint venture between O'Brien and TBS that spans television, digital, social and live events. She also crafted Jerry Bruckheimer's substantial overall deal with CBS and set up Iliza Shlesinger's second stand-up special, Elder Millennial, at Netflix.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "An extra polo helmet (you never know)."

    Desert island must-read Amor Towles’ next novel.

  • Andrew Brettler*

    Lavely Singer

    Courtesy of Subject

    BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters In an ironic twist, Brettler was part of the team representing his partner and mentor, Marty Singer, after Janice Dickinson sued him for defamation in connection with his work for former client Bill Cosby. Along with co-counsel at Horvitz & Levy, Brettler successfully got Singer dismissed from the suit. Brettler also works closely with Singer in representing scandal-plagued figures including Brett Ratner and Danny Masterson. And, solo, he repped Bryan Singer and Ryan Adams in #MeToo matters.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Influencer."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … “Giving a kiss to my wife.”

  • William Briggs*

    Venable

    Courtesy Photo/ Eli Meir Kaplan

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Reputation has become a hot zone for Briggs. Taylor Swift fans know him as the author of a menacing letter after a writer (improperly) connected the star to white supremacists. He's also sticking up for Marlon Wayans' free speech rights after the actor was sued over a racially insensitive tweet. Briggs is repping Kevin Hart against a social media marketing firm, and he conducted the sexual harassment investigation for Skydance before it hired John Lasseter.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A fighter pilot."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and ... “Daily game plan.”

  • Skip Brittenham

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Getty Images

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters As top execs are shifting desks all over town, Brittenham's clients are faring well, with former NBC chief Bob Greenblatt in charge at WarnerMedia and former Fox TV Group chair Dana Walden taking a senior role at Disney. He brokered a new gig for controversial former Pixar and Disney animation chief John Lasseter to work for another client, Skydance's David Ellison. "Every year is good for me," says Brittenham, who also reps Crazy Rich Asians producer Nina Jacobson.

    My theme song "Woke Up This Morning" from The Sopranos

    Desert island must-read Last Hope Island by Lynne Olson.

  • Harold Brown

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy Photo

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Brown's top-of-their-class clients — including Steven Spielberg, Dwayne Johnson, Stephen King and Participant Media CEO David Linde — have him navigating a new dealmaking landscape on their behalf. "It wasn't that long ago when somebody's quote was somebody's quote," Brown says. "That's no longer true. You make different deals for a Netflix than you do for an FX."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "It isn't where, it is with whom."

    Desert island must-read “Is Hawaii a desert island? I always travel with a well-stocked Kindle. All nonfiction. I can be on the island a long time.” 

  • Joseph Calabrese

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy of Subject

    CORNELL LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Calabrese is a go-to lawyer when it comes to live-TV rights, having negotiated an eight-year pact on behalf of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association with Dick Clark Productions and NBC to broadcast the Golden Globes through 2026. He also repped Warner Bros. on its overall pact with Greg Berlanti through 2024. Other clients include Skydance Media and Paris-based entertainment and sports giant beIN Media.

    Desert island must-read “The bilingual copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy I’ve been trying to finish for 10 years.

    Most anticipated TV series “The second season of The Kominsky Method.”

  • Lisa Callif

    Donaldson & Callif

    Courtesy Photo

    SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters The filmmakers behind Netflix's Making a Murderer again turned to Callif to vet it for a second season amid added scrutiny after the true-crime docuseries' breakout. Surprisingly, she had a much easier time handling risk waivers for the Oscar-winning rock-climbing documentary Free Solo. "The releases were quite blatant, and it wasn't that difficult getting people to sign," she says.

    Most anticipated TV series "Season two of Big Little Lies."

    My theme song “Cool It Now” by New Edition

  • Dale Cendali

    Kirkland & Ellis

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Cendali helped Fox News prevail in a copyright suit against media-monitoring service TVEyes earlier this year and scored victories for Take-Two Interactive and Epic Games. Last year, she secured a game-changing injunction barring derivative versions of Grand Theft Auto. She posits, "Can you imagine if other people could do derivative versions of movies and change the ending?" Now she's navigating a series of copyright cases against Epic over dance moves used in Fortnite.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "'Meets,' as in 'Jurassic Park meets Pride & Prejudice.'"

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A theater producer.”

  • Leif Cervantes de Reinstein*

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

    Courtesy of Subject

    DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Prestige television is a windfall for Cervantes de Reinstein, who negotiated production agreements on behalf of Fremantle for The New Pope, the follow-up to Jude Law's popular The Young Pope, and Participant Media for Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five series. He also advises ex-Weinstein COO David Glasser's new 101 Studios, which launched with $300 million for content.

    My theme song "'Work Bitch' by Britney Spears. The busier I am, the better I am."

    Desert island must-read “Any book by Stephen Hawking. Hopefully it will help me find another universe to slip into.”

  • Lindsay Conner

    Manatt Phelps & Phillips

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Garfield will appear alongside a Chinese dog named Mr. Seven thanks in part to Conner, who repped China's Perfect World Pictures in a deal with Alcon Entertainment and Paws Inc. For Michael Eisner's Tornante Co. he handled the sixth-season Netflix pickup of BoJack Horseman and sold the streamer Tuca and Bertie while helping to sell Undone to Amazon and Odd Man Out to YouTube Red.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Commissioner of baseball."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … “Tesla.”

  • Robert Darwell

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

    Courtesy of Gittings Photography

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Amazon Studios has Darwell working on Steven Spielberg-produced miniseries Cortés as well as multiple overall deals with creators including Amy Sherman-Palladino, Jordan Peele and Barry Jenkins. With Focus Features, he was involved in Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and the forthcoming biopic Harriet. He also continues to rep international clients, like Gaumont and Sun Distribution, which now make up 60 percent of his practice.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Margaritas in the office with my colleagues."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Synergy.”

  • Warren Dern

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy Photo

    SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Client Zack Snyder is back in action after stepping away from movies to deal with a family tragedy. He'll direct zombie pic Army of the Dead for Netflix with a reported budget in the $90 million range. Dern also dealt with Netflix when striking Amy Poehler's pact to direct Moxie, which her Paper Kite (Russian Dolls, Broad City) will produce. And Making It, co-hosted by Poehler, was renewed at NBC. Dern also reps Paul Feig, Rebel Wilson and Todd Phillips.

  • Ken Deutsch

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Deutsch has become the go-to adviser when Netflix needs help structuring complex film financing and co-production transactions like international projects Klaus and Over the Moon. He also represented A24 in its multiyear production deal with aspiring digital rival Apple. Other clients include Charles D. King's Macro, which in February inked an overall deal with Warner Bros., and MGM, which in June acquired Big Fish Entertainment.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Streamer."

    Desert island must-read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

  • Scott Edelman

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Courtesy of subject

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters A commercial litigator for top studios, TV networks and record companies, Edelman is defending AMC in three profit-participation cases involving The Walking Dead. Last year, he also argued on behalf of companies that were battered by high-profile #MeToo controversies, including the Charlie Rose case (representing CBS News) and Kesha's dispute with Dr. Luke (Edelman represents Sony Music).

    Most anticipated TV series Fauda, season three

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A furniture maker.”

  • Craig Emanuel

    Paul Hastings

    Courtesy of Subject

    MONASH UNIVERSITY LAW

    Why he matters Emanuel represents hitmaker Ryan Murphy and closed his $300 million Netflix deal, where his Ratched, starring Sarah Paulson, and The Politician, with Gwyneth Paltrow, will air. Emanuel also represented writers Charles Randolph for the Roger Ailes movie, Fair and Balanced, and Luke Davies on Beautiful Boy and the upcoming Catch 22 series starring George Clooney.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Fitbit."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Crushing it.” 

  • Alan Epstein†

    Venable

    Courtesy Photo/ Eli Meir Kaplan

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Epstein helped ousted MGM CEO Gary Barber negotiate a $15.4 million severance package as well as $260 million for his remaining stake in the company. He also oversaw 3 Arts Entertainment's sale to Lionsgate and helped J.J. Abrams team with China's Tencent to create a video game banner at Bad Robot. If that was not enough, Epstein represented Ryan Reynolds in his partnership with Aviation Gin, with the actor acquiring a stake in the brand and becoming its face.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Far more interesting."

  • Matthew Erramouspe

    O'Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Andrew Zinn

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Representing BRON Studios put Erramouspe at the center of a pair of politically charged films: Lionsgate's Roger Ailes movie that will star John Lithgow and Sony Pictures' The Front Runner, about Gary Hart's scandal-plagued run for president in 1988. He also advised Paramount in its relaunch of the Terminator franchise and Alibaba in its investment in Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg's new venture that raised $1 billion in 2018.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Mastro's or Dan Tana's."

    Desert island must-read “Anything by Michael Lewis.”

  • Jamie Feldman

    Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark

    Courtesy of Subject

    HARVARD UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters "The direct and indirect impact of Netflix was really felt across my entire business last year," says Feldman, who renegotiated Kiefer Sutherland's Designated Survivor deal in its move from ABC to the streamer and crafted an innovative A24-Netflix deal for clients Josh and Benny Safdie's Uncut Gems. And in November, Feldman helped secure first-look Amazon pacts for clients Viola Davis' and Barry Jenkins' respective production companies.

    Most anticipated TV series "Not even a close call. The final six episodes of Game of Thrones."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "At least three pods of Nespresso coursing through my bloodstream."

  • Patti Felker

    Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson

    Courtesy of subject

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Amid pilot season, Felker shared the two biggest projects to come across her desk recently: "The Greg Berlanti deal at Warner Bros. Television" [the writer-producer signed a four-year contract] and "the Bones audit," which resulted in a $179 million arbitration award against Fox as part of a profits dispute. Felker represents Bones star David Boreanaz in addition to Emmy Rossum, Zac Efron, Pamela Adlon and, in Felker's words, "wonderful female showrunners" like Gloria Calderón Kellett (One Day at a Time).

  • Sam Fischer

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy Photo

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters When the Obamas needed help navigating Hollywood, they turned to Fischer, along with Ziffren partners Matt Johnson and Wendy Kirk. "Since they are new to the film and TV business, we spent a lot of time educating them and advising on the right partners," says Fischer. (They landed comfortably at Netflix.) Elsewhere, he continues to rep Joss Whedon and Matt Damon as well as several top Hollywood execs like WarnerMedia's Kevin Reilly and CBS' David Nevins.

  • Chad Fitzgerald*

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert 

    Courtesy of Subject

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters It's an excellent time to be an attorney with a deep interest in how vertical integration impacts the creative community. Fitzgerald has investigated studios for allegedly cheating clients out of profits in two of the industry's biggest disputes on this front: the Bones arbitration, which resulted in a $179 million ruling in February concluding that Fox had been dishonest in licensing content to affiliated companies, and the 5-year-old litigation over AMC's The Walking Dead, which is primed to go to trial next year.

    Desert island must-reads "The Riverside Shakespeare and Instagram."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Bavel.”

  • David Fox

    Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light

    Courtesy Photo

    WESTERN STATE COLLEGE OF LAW

    Why he matters During the early 2000s, struggling filmmaker James Wan was given a choice by a movie's financiers: $20,000 upfront or nothing upfront but backend in a movie that may go nowhere. "To a struggling student, $20,000 is a lot of money," recalls Wan. Seeking advice, he turned to an attorney he had recently met, Myman Greenspan's David Fox (alum of Western State College of Law), who advised him to bet on himself. Wan took the backend deal. The movie? Saw, one of the most profitable horror franchises of all time. "He's my Yoda," Wan says. Now Fox is helping Wan navigate his post-Aquaman success and continue growing the billion-dollar Conjuring horror universe. Elsewhere, Fox made deals for Christopher McQuarrie to write and direct back-to-back Mission: Impossible movies and got Leigh Whannell his first studio directing gig with Invisible Man.

    My theme song Jaws

    Desert island must-read "NYT subscription, Kurt Vonnegut complete works and a pile of historical nonfiction."

  • Jeff Frankel

    McKuin Frankel Whitehead 

    Courtesy Photo

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Zachary Levi is starring in Shazam! thanks to Frankel's dealmaking superpowers. Meanwhile, Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) inked a megadeal to stay with Universal Content, and Alan Yang (Master of None) signed an overall deal at NBCU and is making his feature directorial debut with Tigertail for Netflix. Plus, New Girl creator Liz Meriwether will have two network shows on the air with ABC's Single Parents and Bless This Mess, and writer Jared Bush (Moana) is penning a Star Wars series for Disney+.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Osteria Mozza."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A business consultant.”

  • Bryan Freedman

    Freedman & Taitelman

    Courtesy of subject

    UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC

    Why he matters After Megyn Kelly was ousted at NBC News when she appeared to defend the use of blackface in Halloween costumes, she turned to Freedman, who secured the full $69 million stipulated in her contract. He helped settle former Paramount TV president Amy Powell's gender bias claim after she was fired over allegations that she made racially insensitive remarks. He's also been enlisted in attorney Jake Bloom's dispute with former client Johnny Depp and is representing Michael Jackson's estate in its suit against HBO over doc Leaving Neverland.

    Desert island must-read How to Build a Yacht With Your Bare Hands

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A lawyer.”

  • Matt Galsor

    Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger

    Courtesy Photo

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Vin Diesel is now a franchise owner thanks in part to Galsor, who structured the deal for the actor, along with The H Collective, to buy the xXx franchise from Revolution Studios. "If there's another actor who has an ownership stake in a franchise, I'm not aware," the attorney says. Galsor, who also reps James Cameron and David Fincher, closed Chris Hemsworth's deal to star in the Men in Black spinoff at Sony and the action thriller Dhaka at Netflix and negotiated Tom Cruise's deal for Top Gun: Maverick.

    My theme song "So Fresh, So Clean" by OutKast

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Soho House”
     

  • Jonathan Gardner

    Cohen Gardner

    Courtesy Photo

    UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Gardner helped Ryan Coogler line up two producing gigs post-Black Panther: LeBron James' Space Jam sequel and real-life Black Panther biopic Jesus Was My Homeboy, starring Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield. He also advises Boots Riley, whose Sorry to Bother You was produced by Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi (both clients), and Minhal Baig, whose Muslim coming-of-age feature Hala premiered to praise at Sundance.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Specific viewpoint."

    Desert island must-read Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

  • John Gatti

    Manatt Phelps & Phillips

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Gatti's clients include filmmakers, rock bands and global media brands. He is representing Michael Moore in a dispute over Fahrenheit 11/9 while also handling a lawsuit for 38 Special involving the band's name. For AT&T/DirecTV, Gatti has been handling content licensing issues, including regional sports coverage and agreements with pro teams. He's also exploring e-sports and VR.

    My theme song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"

    Most anticipated film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

  • Gregg Gellman*

    Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman

    Courtesy of Benjo Arwas

    LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Gellman handled Kenya Barris' complicated negotiation to leave a four-year deal with ABC early and his ensuing eight-figure overall deal with Netflix, as well as the sale of Bob's Burgers creator Loren Bouchard's latest show to Apple. Gellman also represents rising star Lulu Wang, the director behind hot Sundance title The Farewell, which sold worldwide rights to A24 for up to $7 million.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Chapstick. Tell no one."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Social media influencer.”
     

  • Michael Gendler

    Gendler & Kelly

    Courtesy of Subject

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Shonda Rhimes' nine-figure deal at Netflix — which Gendler closed in August 2017 — covered only TV. So in October, he crafted a separate pact with the streaming giant for Rhimes to work with Matt Reeves on the feature Recursion. But perhaps Gendler's most significant deal of the past year was Courtney Kemp's overall pact with Lionsgate that includes multiple commitments from Starz to develop series. On the film front, Gendler negotiated Rob Marshall's deal to direct and produce a live-action The Little Mermaid for Disney.

    If I wasn't a lawyer I'd be … "A philosophy professor."

    Desert island must-read “Not to be pretentious, but the complete works of Shakespeare.”

  • Rick Genow

    Genow

    Courtesy of Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Genow has added two more movies to new leading man Henry Golding's slate: Paul Feig's Last Christmas and Guy Ritchie's Bush. He's also done film deals (Roy Lee producing It: Chapter Two), broadcast extensions (Will & Grace's Debra Messing), cable pacts (Daniel Zelman's first-look deal at FX and showrunning gig for the Game of Thrones prequel at HBO) and streaming deals (Michael Peña in Netflix's Narcos: Mexico). But it's the cross-border contracts like Logan wunderkind Dafne Keen's star turn in the upcoming His Dark Materials adaptation that he finds most challenging and interesting.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "If I've found both my phone and my keys, then I'm ahead of the game."

    Most anticipated TV series “My client Ben Kingsley’s Epix series Perpetual Grace. Can’t wait.”

  • Eric George†

    Browne George Ross

    Courtesy of Subject

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters George spent years advising prominent politicians about judicial appointments. That's nothing compared to the challenging assignments he's recently taken on: representing Amber Heard in the all-fronts war with ex-husband Johnny Depp; attempting to collect debts owed by Michael Avenatti; negotiating with CBS on behalf of an actress with a #MeToo story about Leslie Moonves; and managing some of the remaining fallout from the Anthony Pellicano scandal for client Michael Ovitz.

  • Cliff Gilbert-Lurie

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy of Ziffren Brittenham

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Gilbert-Lurie continues to rep mega-producer Dick Wolf, who has shows on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. He also assisted Patrick Stewart with the untitled Star Trek series for CBS All Access. Other longtime clients include Sandra Bullock, Tina Fey and Claire Danes.

    My theme song "'Something Wonderful' from The King and I."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A history professor.”

  • Lev Ginsburg

    Ginsburg Daniels

    Courtesy Photo

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Notably, Ginsburg made a reported eight-figure deal for Colin Trevorrow to write, direct and produce Jurassic World 3. The rep also crafted a multiyear, seven-figure Adidas deal for Donald Glover, at work on the third season of his FX series Atlanta. Client Timothée Chalamet is filming Greta Gerwig's Little Women and Denis Villeneuve's Dune and will star in Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch.

    Desert island must-read “The New Yorker, and everything by Annie Proulx.”

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … “Headshots.”

  • Carlos Goodman

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Susan Ledgerwood

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Goodman's trip to SXSW turned into a celebration when client Jonathan Levine's upcoming comedy Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, became one of the buzziest titles at the Austin fest. Cannes could be equally exciting if client Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood turns up as expected (it would be the 25th anniversary of Pulp Fiction's Cannes premiere). He also reps Christian Bale, Jason Blum and Darren Aronofsky.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Taylor's."

    Desert island must-read “John D. MacDonald.”

  • Alan Hergott

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Courtesy of Patrick McMullan

    NORTHWESTERN PRITZKER SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Client Russell Crowe is playing disgraced Fox News mogul Roger Ailes in a miniseries for Showtime and Blumhouse. "The transformation is amazing," says Hergott of Crowe's performance. Client Brad Pitt is gearing up to promote his turn in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Peter Rice is now chairman of Walt Disney TV in the Disney-Fox merger.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Free."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “There are so many, but I don’t like the general tendency in all businesses to transform verbs into nouns and nouns into verbs.”

  • David Hernand†

    Paul Hastings

    Courtesy of Subject

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Hernand delivered a coup last spring when he brought over five Loeb & Loeb partners (including Power Lawyers Craig Emanuel and Susan Zuckerman Williams) to boost his firm's entertainment practice, which he says has the "deepest bench" in Hollywood. He also represented Saban Capital in its $522 million sale of Power Rangers to Hasbro as well as Viacom in its $340 million acquisition of ad-supported streaming service PlutoTV.

    My theme song "'My Shot' from Hamilton."

  • Michael Hobel†

    Katten Muchin

    Courtesy of Subject

    NYU SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Once an aspiring filmmaker, Hobel considered attending AFI but says he "took the easy way out" and went to law school. He feeds his creative urge by working with entertainment clients across the spectrum, including platforms Quibi and Hulu, networks HBO and Starz, and producers FremantleMedia North America and MRC (a division of Valence Media, which owns THR).

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Disruption."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A documentary filmmaker.”
     

  • Craig Jacobson

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Top Dealmakers

    GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Jacobson calls his work on client 3Arts' sale to Lionsgate the "capstone" of his nearly 30 years representing the management firm. New client Spotify also is keeping him busy as he negotiates some of its podcasting deals. "It's like the early days of reality TV," he says of the boom in the new storytelling format. Other clients include The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and Narcos showrunner Eric Newman, who in October inked an overall deal with Netflix.

    Desert island must-read Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood

    My theme song “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2

  • Matthew Johnson

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy Photo

    NYU SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters There's no doubt Johnson's biggest negotiation was Barack and Michelle Obama's groundbreaking multiyear Netflix deal, which will see the streamer become the home for the couple's film and TV projects. In addition to handling Tyler Perry's cross-company pact with Viacom and Sacha Baron Cohen's Showtime series Who Is America?, he put Jamie Foxx in likely 2020 awards bait Just Mercy and Idris Elba in for both Hobbs & Shaw and Cats.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Brand."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “My dining room table.”

  • Neville Johnson

    Johnson & Johnson

    Courtesy of Subject

    SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Johnson is known for his no-nonsense approach when confronting Hollywood studios over accounting practices on behalf of clients like Sylvester Stallone, but he spent a portion of the past year representing a different kind of Hollywood figure: 15-year-old Nickelodeon star JoJo Siwa. Says Johnson of the mini-mogul, "She is extremely professional, disciplined and hardworking."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … "An investigative journalist."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (which just closed).”

  • Karen Johnson-McKewan

    Orrick

    Courtesy of Gittings Photography

    UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Johnson-McKewan is headed to court when client Netflix fights a watershed lawsuit brought by Fox over the poaching of two executives. The San Francisco-based litigator, who already has planned a post-trial vacation with her husband to watch the Women’s World Cup in Paris, also is representing Oracle in a copyright case against Google over its use of Java code.

    My theme song "Manic Monday" by The Bangles

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “Toiling in a vineyard.”

  • Adam Kaller†

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Courtesy of Subject

    WHITTIER LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters No one has a practice quite like Kaller’s, which includes a mix of traditional film and TV talent (Emmy winner Darren Criss and Dirty John star Connie Britton) and new-media stars (perpetual newsmaker Logan Paul and YouTube talk show hosts Rhett & Link). Now Kaller has expanded into the podcast arena, helping client Crooked Media take political phenomenon Pod Save America to HBO.

    Desert island must-read Getting Off a Deserted Island for Dummies

    My theme song “All The Way Up” by Fat Joe and Remy Ma

  • Roberta Kaplan*

    Kaplan Hecker

    Courtesy Photo

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Known for her work helping to extend federal benefits to married same-sex couples in the U.S., Kaplan has become a go-to litigator for #MeToo cases. The co-founder of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, Kaplan is defending “Shitty Media Men” list creator Moira Donegan, who has been sued for defamation by a man named on the list. She also negotiated a settlement of Brett Ratner’s defamation suit against client Melanie Kohler.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "'Woke.' While I certainly agree with the sentiment, I am too much of a grammarian to buy in wholeheartedly."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “In the courtroom. The best place to celebrate a win is when it happens, when the lawyers all high-five each other in the courtroom. After that, I would say whichever bar or restaurant is closest.”

  • Marty Katz

    Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton

    Courtesy Photo

    UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Katz took on multiple clients needing legal counsel in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct allegations — including Endemol Shine, whose series Peaky Blinders briefly landed with Lantern Entertainment after the company bought The Weinstein Co.’s assets out of bankruptcy. Katz notes “risk management of even the most farfetched ‘what-ifs’ can be critical.”

    My theme song "The Godfather theme."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “An actor or a landscape architect.”

  • Dale Kinsella

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert 

    Courtesy Photo

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW 

    Why he matters While Hollywood’s proclivity for arbitration pacts means most of Kinsella’s work happens behind closed doors, he’s been publicly involved in two of the industry’s biggest profit fights. He’s preparing for a 2020 trial on behalf of Frank Darabont in his nine-figure crusade against AMC and recently scored a significant arbitration award against Fox in a dispute over Bones. And Kinsella is suing Universal on behalf of Neal Moritz over his cut from the Fast & the Furious franchise.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Buenos Aires.”

    Desert island must-read “Harry Bosch.”

  • Kelly Klaus

    Munger Tolles & Olson

    Courtesy Photo

    STANFORD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Intellectual property guru Klaus is no stranger to headline-making cases, but in 2018 he was behind one of the most publicized disputes in recent memory: Olivia de Havilland’s lawsuit against FX over her portrayal in Feud: Bette and Joan (Klaus represented FX, which won on appeal). Also in 2018, Klaus helped Disney win a preliminary injunction against Redbox for selling digital movie codes and represented Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment against alleged illegal streaming services.

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … "Well-rested."

  • Deborah Klein†

    Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Ron Burgundy is back thanks to Klein, who negotiated Will Ferrell’s deal to return as his Anchorman character for an iHeart Media podcast. She also negotiated first-look deals at Paramount and CBS for Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions and helped Samuel L. Jackson extend his stint as the celebrity face of Capital One and star in Captain Marvel, Shaft and Glass. Her roster includes Paul Rudd and Jim Carrey.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Hanging 10, pretty much anywhere."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and ... “I never want to leave the house without my dogs, but everyone makes me.”

  • Robert Klieger†

    Hueston Hennigan

    Courtesy Photo

    STANFORD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Klieger ended a bitter, tangled legal war between Sumner and Shari Redstone on one side, and two of the billionaire’s former companions on the other. (Both resulted in settlements.) He’s also representing Universal in a profits fight over Columbo and Amazon in a lawsuit from Woody Allen after it ended a multipicture deal early amid #MeToo.

    Most anticipated film John Wick: Chapter 3

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “Rested.”

  • Tara Kole*

    Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown

    Courtesy of Subject

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Chelsea Clinton turned to Kole, who serves on Women in Film’s board of directors, when she became an author; the former first daughter will publish her sixth book in April. Kole also represents a slew of new female showrunners (The L Word sequel’s Marja-Lewis Ryan, Tales of the City’s Lauren Morelli, Megan Martin of Brie Larson’s untitled CIA drama for Apple) and handles Taylor Swift’s movie work, including her turn in Cats.

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “An English professor.”

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “IP.”

  • Michael Kump

    Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert 

    Courtesy Photo

    UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Kump is the Kardashian clan’s go-to lawyer in everything from trademark disputes to right of publicity issues. The attorney also settled an ugly dispute with Johnny Depp on behalf of his former business managers. His docket also includes Sandra Bullock, Michael Strahan and Jessica Simpson.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … “Optimism.”

    Most anticipated TV series “The new season of Billions on Showtime.”

  • Molly Lens*

    O'Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Subject

    UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters If Aesop were still alive, the Greek storyteller would probably write a fable about Lens. She’s been fighting for Fox on many fronts — defending the company in harassment cases involving Fred Savage and former sports exec Jamie Horowitz, attempting to overturn a $179 million Bones arbitration award, dealing with copyright and trademark claims over Empire, and preparing for a May trial over Netflix’s "poaching" of Fox executives.

  • Jared Levine

    Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Longtime client Jordan Peele keeps Levine so busy with his production company’s burgeoning slate of projects (Us, The Twilight Zone, Lovecraft Country, Candyman) that it takes a second to remember Peele also produced Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. "Monkeypaw has all this stuff going on that it’s easy to forget Jordan was nominated for an Academy Award this year," says Levine with a laugh. The attorney also works with NBA star Stephen Curry, whose Unanimous Media inked an overall film and TV deal with Sony, and newcomer Ramy Youssef, whose eponymous Hulu comedy will premiere April 19.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Bandwidth."

    Most anticipated film Us.

  • Linda Lichter

    Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman & Clark

    Todd Williamson/Getty Images

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Lichter navigated director Chloé Zhao from $5 million indie Nomadland to The Eternals, a mega-budget Marvel movie that shoots this year. She also made a deal for Steven Schiff to showrun a Rogue One: A Star Wars Story prequel and represents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield, Fox Searchlight’s presidents who will be under new (Disney) management.

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … "An astronaut."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “A beach.”

  • Steven Marenberg

    Irell & Manella

    Courtesy Photo

    IRELL & MANELLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Clients don’t get much bigger than Marenberg’s, which include Disney, Warner Bros., HBO, Universal and gaming giant Activision. As such, he’s known for handling difficult problems with a "fair amount" at stake. With the Disney-Fox merger, Marenberg is defending a suit from Genting Malaysia, which is suing Disney and Fox over terminating plans for a theme park in Malaysia called Fox World. Says Marenberg of the $1 billion complaint, "It’s total BS."

  • Joel McKuin

    McKuin Frankel Whitehead 

    Courtesy Photo

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters One of McKuin’s biggest feats this year was moving Sera Gamble’s drama series You from Lifetime to Netflix. He represents Fargo creator Noah Hawley, who just cast Chris Rock in the series’ upcoming fourth season; Kristen Stewart, who will appear in the Charlie’s Angels reboot this year; and Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things).

    My theme song "Fake Empire" by The National

    Desert island must-read “A ship-building manual: How to Build Ships.”

  • John Meigs Jr.

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Martha Galvan

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters As Black Panther breakout Winston Duke’s star rose, Meigs shepherded a slew of deals that included starring roles in Jordan Peele’s Us, Peter Berg’s Wonderland and Paramount’s Heroine. He also handles the legal work for much of the talent behind HBO’s Insecure, negotiating star Issa Rae’s new HBO offering, A Black Lady Sketch Show, showrunner Prentice Penny’s feature directorial debut with Netflix, Uncorked, and actor Jay Ellis’ casting in the Top Gun sequel, Maverick.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Republique."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “I’ve always wanted to be an architect.”

  • Darrell Miller

    Fox Rothschild

    Courtesy Photo

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Miller's client list is an impressive mix of veteran talent and up-and-comers, from Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance to If Beale Street Could Talk actress Teyonah Parris, who recently landed a spot in Jordan Peele's Candyman sequel, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star Tati Gabrielle. He handled Luke Cage showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker's move from Netflix in a large overall deal to its competitor Amazon.

    My theme song "All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “‘Huge.’ Everything’s gonna be ‘huge.’”

  • Sean Monroe*

    O'Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Subject

    UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Monroe helped Envy Gaming secure $20 million in Series B equity in 2018, a deal he calls a "nice validation of the e-sports space." On the film and TV side, Monroe represents BRON Studios and its newly launched investment branch BRON Ventures, which inked a partnership with Brooklyn-based production company Animal Kingdom. He's also working on a fashion retail acquisition that will bring a "well-known local brand to another level."

    Desert island must-read "Dune by Frank Herbert. Loved this sprawling book series when I read it in middle school, eagerly anticipating the reboot by Legendary, and what could be more appropriate for a desert island?”

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “At home enjoying a great bottle of wine — probably a good Bordeaux with a bit of age on it (not too much).”

  • Marcy Morris†

    Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Client Scott Z. Burns transitioned into directing with Sundance hit The Report, starring Annette Bening and Adam Driver. Meanwhile, the sale of Dune's motion picture and TV rights marked "an important dealmaking moment" for Morris, while clients Megan Mullally and Chandra Wilson are going strong with a successful reinvention of Will & Grace and the 15th season on Grey's Anatomy, respectively. She also reps Trevante Rhodes, Jacob Tremblay and Natalia Dyer.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Running the EPA. 30-plus years ago, I was the founding editor-in-chief of the UCLA Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. Almost went down that path but took the path to entertainment, my other great love.”

    Desert island must-read “All of the Harry Potter books. I can re-read them over and over again.”
     

  • Aaron Moss†

    Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger

    Courtesy of Subject

    Why he matters Moss guards the biggest name in monsters: Godzilla. Representing Japanese studio Toho, Moss worked on cases involving video games using the gigantic lizard's likeness without permission and a car dealership calling itself Godzilla Motors. "People think that he's public domain or, because he's Japanese, that he can't be infringed," says Moss. A figuratively larger-than-life client is The Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson, whom Moss is representing in a dispute with the director's former agent.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "Reboot."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and ... “Pants.”

  • Bob Myman

    Myman Greenspan Fox Rosenberg Mobasser Younger & Light

    Courtesy of Subject

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters As client Damon Lindelof readied his anticipated Watchmen series, Myman assisted the prolific creator in his deal with Blumhouse and Universal for The Hunt, which he co-wrote and will produce. Myman prides himself on long-standing relationships with clients like Angela Lansbury, Maria Bello, Laura Prepon and Billy Bob Thornton.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A baseball coach."

  • Peter Nelson

    Nelson Davis

    Courtesy of Subject

    UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF THE LAW

    Why he matters With an Oscar in hand, longtime client Allison Janney showed no signs of slowing down. That saw Nelson Davis' Peter Nelson negotiating five new films on her behalf, including Troop Zero opposite Viola Davis and Jay Roach's star-studded Fair and Balanced. Nelson also spearheaded her deal for two more seasons on CBS' hit series Mom ("For which she's justifiably one of the highest-paid actors in TV," says Nelson). As for the rest of his roster, in addition to longtime client Peter Jackson, Nelson reps plenty of young talent, including Nicolas Pesce, whose The Grudge reboot marks his third film by age 29. He also renegotiated deals for Téa Leoni (Madam Secretary) and Kevin Pollak (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). That type of deal has become old hat for the attorney (a grad of UC Hastings College of Law): "I may have renegotiated more of these agreements — close to 50 — than any other lawyer in town."

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Mojo."

    Desert island must-read "Educated by Tara Westover. And I’ll happily stay on the island to read her next book.”

  • Ron Nessim*

    Bird Marella

    Courtesy of Subject

    UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Nessim has represented some of the most prolific producers in TV in profit claims against studios. Some are confidential, but here's who's not: Eric Kripke, the creator of The CW drama SupernaturalThe Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and most of the showrunners on the AMC zombie hit. Nessim also resolved budding disputes for Shonda Rhimes, J.J. Abrams and Dick Wolf.

    Desert island must-read War and Peace

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and ... “Apple Watch to track my steps, exercise minutes, etc.”

  • Jeanne Newman

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Courtesy of Subject

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Newman's past year was filled with rich overall deals: Drew Goddard's at Disney's 20th TV, Marti Noxon's at Netflix, Melissa Rosenberg's at Warner Bros. TV and Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino's renegotiated pact with Amazon. She's now working with Darla Anderson (Oscar winner for Coco) and is "tremendously excited" about new client Jordan E. Cooper, a 22-year-old writer whose play Ain't No Mo' premiered in March.

  • Amy Nickin

    Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

    Courtesy of Subject

    WAYNE LAW

    Why she matters As John Goodman's rep, Nickin led the high-profile negotiations ahead of the Roseanne reboot and amid the revival's controversy. Meanwhile, Ian Brennan (co-creator of Glee and Scream Queens) moved from 20th Century Fox to Netflix for a lucrative overall agreement. Now she's negotiating a deal for Simon Fuller and Ryan Tedder (One Direction) to co-create a musical show for Nickelodeon and continues to represent Aaron Sorkin and Melissa Benoist.

    My theme song "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Right outside my office door. No one gets it more than my colleagues.”

  • Robert Offer

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy of Subject

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Client Brie Larson is breaking box office records in Captain Marvel, while Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch round out Offer's super roster. "How's my year? Marvel and Disney, that's my year," says Offer, whose client Adam Driver wrapped Star Wars: Episode IX, while Angelina Jolie returns to the screen with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Elsewhere, Michael Bay landed an eye-popping Netflix directing deal reportedly worth far more than $20 million.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A concierge."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Influencer.”

  • Tony Oncidi

    Proskauer Rose

    Courtesy of Subject

    UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Oncidi has become one of L.A.'s go-to employment attorneys. He's representing Viacom in a high-profile litigation matter against Netflix involving the alleged poaching of a Viacom executive who was under contract. For client CAA, he recently settled the ugly talent agent poaching fight with UTA.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Fogo de Chao.It’s keto-friendly, but you do have to be careful not to fill up at the amazing salad bar. That’s where they get ya!”

    Most anticipated TV series “I know I should say, ‘Unleash the Dragons — Game of Thrones,’ but I’m actually even happier that Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming back for season 10!”

  • Jodi Peikoff†

    Peikoff Mahan

    Courtesy of Subject

    BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Peikoff is negotiating America Ferrera's overall producing deal as well as "chiming in" with the social justice work that the actress does. Peikoff, whose other clients include Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton, also helped an unnamed client secure an intimacy coordinator on her HBO series, which led to the network hiring that position on all of its shows. 

    Desert island must-read Don't Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and ... “Oh shit, I forgot my phone and keys!”

  • Louis Petrich†

    Leopold Petrich

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Petrich is evidence that ingenuity knows no age limit. Well into his sixth decade practicing law, he got BBC out of a copyright suit for using The Cosby Show clips in a documentary by showing that "geoblocking" prevented his client's work from being seen in the U.S. Then, in a lawsuit over the use of graffiti in the background of a car commercial, he pointed to an obscure copyright exception for designs integrated into architecture. He also won a defamation case for The Wolf of Wall Street producers.

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword "'No problem' when 'you're welcome' is a more appropriate response to 'thank you.'"

    My theme song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”

  • Dan Petrocelli

    O'Melveny & Myers

    Courtesy of Subject

    SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters There's no rest for Petrocelli after beating the U.S. government's lawsuit aimed at blocking the AT&T/Time Warner merger on antitrust grounds. He's now taking on the Michael Jackson estate on two fronts (for Disney over an ABC special and for HBO over Leaving Neverland), Fox's suit against Netflix for poaching executives, Kesha's defense on claims she defamed Dr. Luke and Irving Azoff's battle against much of the radio industry over songwriter royalties.

    My theme song Rocky

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “A professional trumpet player or commissioner of baseball.”

  • Marvin Putnam

    Latham & Watkins

    Courtesy Photo

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Putnam repped Miramax and former Weinstein Co. board member Tim Sarnoff in various suits stemming from Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior and advised MGM and Mark Burnett Productions on demands for the release of unaired Apprentice footage amid claims it shows Donald Trump's misbehavior. He also has been involved in the ongoing negotiations between talent agents and the Writers Guild.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A crisis manager."

    Desert island must-read “You want something that is epic and that you could read over and over with a different take each time, so I’d choose The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”   

  • Jeremiah Reynolds*

    Eisner

    Todd Williamson/Getty Images

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters An aggressive litigator, Reynolds in March defeated director Farhad Safinia's copyright suit against Voltage Pictures over the screenplay for Mel Gibson's The Professor and the Madman. He also reached a confidential settlement for Richard Gere, who was involved in a dispute with his former producing partner over an adaptation of Bones of the Master.

  • Ken Richman

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Courtesy of Subject

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters In March, Richman secured The Good Place creator Mike Schur a nine-figure overall deal to stay at Universal Television for five years. "Ultimately, it's where Mike wanted to be," says Richman. "He has a lot of history there." He also renegotiated Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss' deal to star in the third season of The Handmaid's Tale and showrunner Alec Berg's (Barry, Silicon Valley) overall deal at HBO.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Relentless positivity."

    Desert island must-readNew York Post sports section.”

  • Marissa Roman Griffith

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

    Courtesy Photo

    STANFORD LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Román Griffith usually reps lenders like MUFG Union Bank, which backs movies like Beautiful Boy and Paddington 2. But in the #MeToo era, more of her time is spent negotiating morals clauses, which she says are often "super vague and lets one party cut a project loose for any reason."

    My theme song "Roar" by Katy Perry

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … “My little rubber ducky keychain. When I can’t find my keys, I can squeeze my purse to make it quack (so I know they’re in there somewhere.)”

  • Benyamin Ross*

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Courtesy of subject

    NYU SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Ross had a hand in several notable transactions last year, from the $1 billion Jeffrey Katzenberg raised for WndrCo's Quibi to The Chernin Group's sale of Otter Media to AT&T. But the NHL fan is most excited about his work for Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff's Oak View Group to renovate Seattle's KeyArena in preparation for a new hockey team.

    Most anticipated film "I'm dying to see Avengers: Endgame."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Making it home to see the kids.”

  • Gretchen Rush†

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Courtesy of Subject

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Rush is the sun around which some of Hollywood's top female talent find themselves orbiting. She helped make Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo the $20 million (per season) woman, represented Reese Witherspoon and her banner Hello Sunshine in numerous television deals and saw Jennifer Lawrence launch her production shingle with a first-look deal with Makeready. And she reps Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

  • Faiza Saeed

    Cravath

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters Saeed's fingerprints are on some of the biggest deals in the history of Hollywood as she represented Time Warner when AT&T agreed to acquire it for $109 billion (including debt) while also repping Walt Disney in its $71.3 billion partial merger with 21st Century Fox. She's also advising Viacom's board of directors as it mulls what could be the next blockbuster merger: Viacom-CBS.

    Desert island must-read "The Mueller Report."

    Most anticipated film The Lion King
     

  • Ira Schreck

    Schreck Rose

    Courtesy of subject

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters The deal for Jason Katims (Parenthood) to move from his long-term perch at Universal to Apple was "an exciting move as the TV industry transforms," says Schreck, who handled the renegotiations for two actors on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He also reps Kevin Hart and Ang Lee, and clients Ed Helms and Mike Falbo, with their company Pacific Electric, had their first film at Sundance.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "A landscape architect."

    Most anticipated film “Ang Lee’s Gemini Man.”

  • Bobby Schwartz

    Quinn Emanuel

    Courtesy Photo

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Schwartz is settled into his new firm (he left Irell & Manella in October), and he's no longer conflicted out of representing Netflix, now a shiny new client. The lawyer also is leading Kanye West's quest to be freed from his EMI recording contract and is defending Vivendi in a $400 million profit suit from the creators of This Is Spinal Tap.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "Skiing."

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Buzzword.”

  • P.J. Shapiro

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy Photo

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Shapiro brokered a massive six-year overall pact for Mindy Kaling at Warner Bros. TV that's reportedly in the mid-eight-figures range. He also reps a slew of other female multihyphenates like Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Elizabeth Banks and Selena Gomez and helped get Emma Stone in Disney's Cruella de Vil movie.

    My theme song "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Capo.”

  • Nina Shaw

    Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano

    Courtesy of subject

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why she matters After long days brokering deals for the likes of Lupita Nyong'o (Jordan Peele's Us) and F. Gary Gray (reviving the Men in Black franchise), Shaw stays up late helping to develop Time's Up and its legal defense fund. "I've always wondered what my career would look like if I could just be [regarded as] a really good entertainment lawyer, defined only on those terms," says the trailblazer, still one of the few women of color to have co-founded a Hollywood law firm. "I have an affinity for making deals, just like my peers do. That part is sometimes overshadowed."

    My theme song “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now”

    Most anticipated TV series Americanah

  • Lawrence Shire

    Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks

    Courtesy of subject

    GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Shire has been helping high-profile clients either secure their jobs (Gayle King's renegotiation for CBS This Morning) or leave them (Richard Plepler's departure from HBO). As head of his firm's entertainment group, he leads a team that had a strong Oscar showing: Clients Spike Lee and Lady Gaga were winners, as was Robert De Niro when Netflix aired its first teaser trailer for Martin Scorsese's The Irishman.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Shortstop for the New York Yankees."

    Favorite place to celebrate a win “Home.”

  • Marty Singer

    Lavely Singer

    Courtesy Photo

    BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters When scandal hits the front pages, chances are Singer represents one of the parties. When National Enquirer threatened to publish Jeff Bezos' sexts to TV anchor Lauren Sanchez, Singer had two (the Amazon founder and his security chief, Gavin de Becker). Most of the Brooklyn native's clients are never known unless a lawsuit is filed ­— as was the case this year with Gerard Butler, Calvin Harris, the Kardashian/Jenner family and Brett Ratner.

    My theme song "Hit the Road Jack"

    Most anticipated film Rambo sequel

  • Gregory Slewett*

    Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman

    Bill Phelps

    BENJAMIN N. CARDOZO SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters For client Michael B. Jordan's deal with Warner Bros., Slewett helped structure the first major studio contract with an inclusion rider. "That showed what an actor with stature can do when they use their [political] capital, and it has permeated the deals we've done with other companies," says Slewett, who also pieced together multiple complex deals for client M. Night Shyamalan, including a series for Apple that sees the filmmaker serving as his own studio.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "Much less cynical."

    Most anticipated filmYesterday because Danny Boyle got the keys to The Beatles songbook.”
     

  • Jason Sloane

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Todd Williamson/Getty Images

    UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Franchise stars including Chris Evans and Hugh Jackman are at the center of his practice. In 2018, he participated in a major renegotiation for Star Wars actors Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver. He also helped his A-listers evolve to take on new ventures, forging Will Smith's deals for YouTube and Facebook shows, Hugh Jackman's arena tour and Amy Adams' new production company.

  • Orin Snyder

    Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

    Courtesy of subject

    UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Snyder not only continues to represent AMC in the massive profit-participation disputes over The Walking Dead but also is defending Facebook in connection with the Cambridge Analytica data breach. "Partnering with them to address important legal issues across a wide spectrum of issues has been rewarding," says Snyder, who elsewhere is representing Jerry Seinfeld in a copyright suit over Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "The Hamptons."

    Most anticipated TV series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

  • Chris Spicer

    Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

    Courtesy of Subject

    GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW CENTER

    Why he matters Spicer was instrumental in resurrecting the Halloween franchise by representing Bank of America in its $300 million credit facility for Miramax. He also repped BofA in the $120 million refinancing of FilmNation Entertainment and a joint venture of Perfect World, Village Roadshow and WME/IMG-China for movies in Australia and China.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Some form of unwanted gift from my son (drool on the shoulder of my suit has been his go-to lately).

    My theme song “Baby Shark.”

  • Matthew Thompson

    Sidley Austin

    Courtesy Photo

    UC HASTINGS COLLEGE OF LAW

    Why he matters Thompson secured a multiyear extension for Mark Burnett and his elevation to chairman of MGM's worldwide television group. The attorney also navigated a complex deal involving CORE Media acquiring client IPC Television and relaunching it as Industrial Media, with client Eli Holzman as CEO. Thompson also repped financial entity PSP Investments that, along with Investcorp, made a nine-figure outlay into UTA, as well as advising Conan O'Brien in his joint venture with TBS.

  • Fred Toczek

    Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson

    Courtesy Photo

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Toczek mainstay Seth Rogen shot two movies that will hit theaters this year, Long Shot and Disney's remake of The Lion King, while his stable of actor talent (Bill Hader, Freddie Highmore, Ben Mendelsohn, Daniel Radcliffe) keeps television dealwork flowing.

    Favorite place to celebrate a win "At home with my family."

  • Steve Warren

    Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren Richman Rush Kaller & Gellman

    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    HARVARD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Warren negotiated Leonardo DiCaprio's deal to star in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Charlize Theron's pact to co-star in the Seth Rogen rom-com Long Shot, which had a buzzy SXSW premiere. The rep also secured Constance Wu's starring role in the STX drama Hustlers, set up Christina Applegate's dark comedy series Dead to Me at Netflix and reps Drew Barrymore, Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell.

    Desert island must-read "Less by Andrew Sean Greer. Favorite book of the year.”

    Most overused Hollywood buzzword “Granular.”

  • David Weber

    Sloane Offer Weber & Dern

    Courtesy Photo

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why he matters Hot off his first Oscar, Weber's client Rami Malek is rumored to have lined up a huge role as the villain in Cary Fukunaga's Bond 25. He also crafted Joaquin Phoenix's contract for Warner Bros.' The Joker, a one-picture deal that allows the actor to do sequels on his own terms. Weber, who reps Ryan Reynolds and Alison Brie, also got director clients David Ayer and Jean-Marc Vallee set up for their next projects: Bright 2 for the former and a John Lennon-Yoko Ono biopic for the latter.

    My theme song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by The Rolling Stones

    Desert island must-read “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Alan Wertheimer

    Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

    Courtesy of subject

    STANFORD LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck struck out of indie territory in a major way: Captain Marvel is on its way to earning $1 billion-plus at the global box office. Wertheimer recently crafted the deal for Jason Reitman to direct the next Ghostbusters pic, which is expected to be a direct sequel to the classic 1984 film helmed by Ivan Reitman, Jason's father. His client list also includes Nicole Kidman, Patty Jenkins, Wes Anderson, Matthew McConaughey and J.J. Abrams.

    I never leave the house without my phone, keys and … "Spotify."

    If I wasn’t a lawyer, I’d be … “Poor.”

  • Bryan Wolf

    Ziffren Brittenham

    Courtesy Photo

    COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Both A-list talent and Hollywood executives call on Wolf, including Judd Apatow, who'll return to directing with a Pete Davidson vehicle, and Steve Carell, who has two TV series in the works. Meanwhile, Michael Ellenberg's Media Res continues to sell content to Apple, building on its deal with a CIA drama starring Brie Larson.

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … "An organic farmer."

    Most anticipated TV series Morning Wars

  • Kevin Yorn

    Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman

    Courtesy Photo

    TULANE UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL

    Why he matters Yorn closed a deal for Scarlett Johansson to star in and produce the Black Widow movie for Marvel that called for big numbers upfront and on the backend. He inked her role in Fox Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit and helped her launch production company These Pictures. He reps Ellen DeGeneres; Ansel Elgort, who nabbed the lead in the West Wide Story remake; Ellen Page, now starring in Netflix's Umbrella Academy; and Zoe Saldana.

    Most anticipated film Jojo Rabbit

    My theme song “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen

  • Susan Zuckerman Williams

    Paul Hastings

    Courtesy Photo

    USC GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW

    Why she matters Williams represented Bank of America with its $35 million syndicated loan for Weinstein Television, and she's representing First Republic Bank to protect its $5 million investment in Polaroid, a horror film in limbo due to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. In December, she represented MidCap Financial in a $121 million production credit facility for Sonar Entertainment.

    My theme song "Run the World" by Beyoncé

    If I wasn't a lawyer, I'd be … “The first female head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

    This story first appeared in the March 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.